Dog charities have warned that the UK’s American bully XL ban could lead to innocent, healthy dogs being put down.
Hope Rescue has said the Government’s planned crackdown on the breed – which has been linked to a spate of recent dog attacks in the country – would mean they can’t be rehomed.
The charity, which runs a dog shelter in south Wales, added that this would leave one option: putting them down.
Other organisations have voiced similar fears, stating that the coming law could create difficulties for rescuers and charities dedicated to finding dogs new homes.
The Government’s announcement has also prompted some confusion for owners, many of whom have reached out as they wait to find out how regulators plan to classify their pets.
Ministers announced the plans to ban the American bully XL in mid-September as national outcry grew over frequent reports of adults and children being mauled to death.
American bullies were involved in attacks on a 65-year-old woman in April this year, a 17-month-old child in March 2022, and a 10-year-old in 2021.
Despite having a friendly demeanour, the breeds have been identified as particularly aggressive and dangerous by authorities and can weigh up to nine stone (60kg).
The Government has announced what it will require from people under the ban but not how it will classify the breed.
Ministers have adopted an “amnesty” approach that will ask owners to register any owned American bullies XL.
They will also need to neuter the dogs and keep them muzzled and leashed when taking them out for walks.
Charities and trainers warn that people require much more education and assistance before the ban is enacted at the end of 2023.
Maddie Bell-Ashe, a trainer from TLC Dog Academy and Walking, near Milton Keynes, told the BBC she has received enquiries from people across the country asking for help.
She said: “I’ve been getting enquiries from Glasgow to Devon with people asking for help. People are getting really overwhelmed.
“A bit more education, more support, more people invested in helping the dogs could help.”